Title

The Effect a Novel Outdoor Environment on the Behavior of Chimpanzees in a Sanctuary Setting

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 137B

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

The presence of species-typical behavior is considered an indicator of captive animal welfare and a measure of the animals’ relationship to the captive environment. Creating the environmental complexity that animals experience in the wild is challenging in captive settings, although previous research indicates a positive influence that an outdoor environment has on captive primate behavior. The current study assessed the behavior of seven captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) (1 male, 6 females 34-38 years, M age= 35 years) at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, WA, before and after the introduction to Young’s Hill, a two acre novel outdoor environment enclosed by electric fencing. All of the chimpanzees were previously housed in a laboratory with no outdoor access. Behavior was assessed from August 2011 to October 2011. Individuals were observed by conducting ten minute focal samples with 30 second instantaneous recording on behavior, resulting in approximately 50 scans per individual in each condition. A Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test showed that there was a significant effect in 5 of the 7 behavioral categories analyzed, including a decrease in inactivity ( Z= -2.120, P=.034), increase in locomotion ( Z= -2.371, P=.018), decrease in object manipulation( Z= -2.366, P=.018), increase in attention ( Z= -2.047, P=.041), and a decrease self-directed behaviors( Z= -2.117, P=.034). Results suggest that a large outdoor environment promotes species-typical behaviors, especially locomotion.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Megan Matheson

Additional Mentoring Department

Primate Behavior

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May 17th, 2:10 PM May 17th, 2:30 PM

The Effect a Novel Outdoor Environment on the Behavior of Chimpanzees in a Sanctuary Setting

SURC 137B

The presence of species-typical behavior is considered an indicator of captive animal welfare and a measure of the animals’ relationship to the captive environment. Creating the environmental complexity that animals experience in the wild is challenging in captive settings, although previous research indicates a positive influence that an outdoor environment has on captive primate behavior. The current study assessed the behavior of seven captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) (1 male, 6 females 34-38 years, M age= 35 years) at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, WA, before and after the introduction to Young’s Hill, a two acre novel outdoor environment enclosed by electric fencing. All of the chimpanzees were previously housed in a laboratory with no outdoor access. Behavior was assessed from August 2011 to October 2011. Individuals were observed by conducting ten minute focal samples with 30 second instantaneous recording on behavior, resulting in approximately 50 scans per individual in each condition. A Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test showed that there was a significant effect in 5 of the 7 behavioral categories analyzed, including a decrease in inactivity ( Z= -2.120, P=.034), increase in locomotion ( Z= -2.371, P=.018), decrease in object manipulation( Z= -2.366, P=.018), increase in attention ( Z= -2.047, P=.041), and a decrease self-directed behaviors( Z= -2.117, P=.034). Results suggest that a large outdoor environment promotes species-typical behaviors, especially locomotion.